Alumni Successes

Our students have many different majors, backgrounds, and interests. We are so proud of all their achievements. Below, we showcase some of our alumni and how the minor has affected them both personally and professionally.

Kristopher Oliveira

Kristopher Oliveira

Graduated: 2015

Major: Psychology

Minor: Gender Studies and Music

Kristopher on how the Gender Studies minor affected him personally & professionally:

  • "It’s almost serendipitous that I took Introduction to Gender Studies during the same semester that I learned that I could become a career professional who supports and celebrates LGBTQ+ students at the margins of identity. As a Black gay undergraduate student on campus, completing the Gender Studies program helped me to personally develop a critical consciousness about what shared humanity, accountability, identity, social justice, and equity could be within the current socio-political landscape. That’s a long way of saying that Gender Studies at SRU was the first place I came to more fully understand myself, others, and community. Gender studies opened up doors for me to pursue prestigious internships at the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and a curricular design internship with the Gender Studies program. Practically speaking, the Gender Studies program gave me the opportunity to build out better and stronger writing skills that were invaluable to my graduate school success. The theoretical tools, writing skills, and organizing principles that I learned in the Gender Studies propelled me to complete a Ph.D. in Sociology with an emphasis on gender studies, race and ethnicity, and theory and methods. Today, the skills that I learned in the Gender Studies program at SRU are the foundation of my work as an Assistant Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, and Inaugural Director of the Gender + Sexuality Resource Center (GSRC) at Princeton University. The only thing that I regret was not taking LGBTQ+ history as an undergraduate student – my schedule was too full!"

Maevon Gumble

Maevon Gumble

Graduated in 2016: Bachelor of Music in Music Therapy with a Gender Studies minor

Graduated in 2019: Master of Music Therapy with a Counseling Emphasis 

Maevon on how the Gender Studies minor affected them personally & professionally:

  • "I had the honor of interacting with the Gender Studies Program both as a student during my undergraduate work as well as a Graduate Assistant during my graduate work. In both contexts, this program irrevocably shaped the way I understand myself, those around me, and the world at large, particularly in considering the many sociocultural intersections of identity as well as issues of power and privilege. I am a nonbinary genderqueer music therapist and pre-licensed counselor with my own private practice, and it is within this context that I engage in mental health services and gender affirming voicework, predominantly alongside those a part of the queer, transgender, nonbinary, and gender expansive communities and those who have experienced trauma stemming from abuse and/or systemic oppression. The understandings that I have gained from participating in the Gender Studies Program have supported me in deepening my clinical practice and better working alongside those who reach out to me for support, whether that be for mental health or gender affirming voicework. Truly, it is not an exaggeration to state that not a day goes by in which I do not integrate the understandings I've gained from this program into my personal and professional life. Further, Dr. Cindy LaCom served on my graduate thesis committee, where I explored both my own embodiment of gender and the voice while also considering the development of gender affirming voicework as a music therapy method for those seeking to access and embody a more affirming singing and/or speaking voice. This work is saturated with a sociocultural understanding of embodiment. Lastly, it is because of the knowledge I've gained from this program that led me into regularly presenting on the need to queer music therapy practice, which eventually led to serving as a guest editor for a special issue on queering music therapy for Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy. I cannot state enough how important this program has been to shaping my personal and professional life."


Ayanna Byers

Graduated: 2016

Major: Psychology

Minor: Gender Studies and Business Administration

Ayanna on how the Gender Studies minor affected her personally and professionally:

  • "The Gender Studies minor offered this really interesting area for me to study things that weren't offered at Slippery Rock yet. Growing up as a Black woman in New Castle, Pennsylvania, I didn't see a lot of myself reflected and I went into a predominately white institution, where I also did not see a lot of myself reflected and what is reflected is limited. And so, I was able to learn more about myself and the different identities that I held, through that minor. Not only was I able to learn more about gender and the way that gender affects every interaction that I have, but I was able to complicate it and look at the intersection of different identities that I had. That completely changed the lens through which I could interact with people. I wasn't just taking my daily interactions for surface-level conversations. I was digging into them and understanding, as Dr. LaCom would say, "The personal is political". So I was understanding the political impacts of my day to day conversations or interactions."
  • "Currently I work in student affairs in higher education. I am using Gender Studies every day and every moment. Like I mentioned before, Gender Studies isn't just gender, but overwhelmingly you're learning about how different "-isms" are connected. Systems of oppression are connected. I was using Gender Studies when I was in my graduate program, to work with students of color specifically inside of residence halls of a predominantly white institution, to now, as I work at a Hispanic-serving institution in the California State University system. Here, I'm seeing how gender, race, ability, religion, and national origin all play a role in how students experience college and how they understand their experience in college. At every level, I'm using some aspect of what I've learned in the Gender Studies Program."

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Atticus Ranck

Graduated: 2012

Major: Creative Writing

Minor: Gender Studies and Communications

Atticus on how the Gender Studies minor affected them personally and professionally:

  • "While I was pursuing my Gender Studies minor at SRU, I was identifying as a cisgender lesbian woman. I came to Slippery Rock University from a rural, religious household in PA where I experienced some spiritual violence due to my lesbian identity. I was deeply interested in the ways in which my identity played out on a national and global scale and especially about the role religion played in that conversation. The Gender Studies minor allowed me a safe and brave space in which to start exploring that. Although I didn't come out as male until I was in graduate school, it was at Slippery Rock that the changes started to occur. I learned about feminism, the LGBTQ movement, and about the ways in which gender roles and expectations box in people of any sex and/or gender. When I started my transition to male, the information I learned in my Gender Studies minor and master's helped me to realize that I could be a man but that I wasn't confined to a specific set of roles and that I could absolutely still be a feminist."
  • "The minor in Gender Studies I received from SRU was the reason I pursued a master's degree in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from Florida Atlantic University. I was really interested in Gender Studies from the first class with Cindy LaCom. While I was earning my master's degree, I held an internship at SunServe, an LGBTQ mental health agency in South Florida. I assisted other trans-identifying people in legally changing their name and gender marker. That internship led to my hire as Director of Transgender Studies at SunServe following my graduation. I am now the Health Programs & Supportive Services Manager at Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center in Allentown, PA. Without the Gender Studies Minor, I wouldn't have pursued my master's in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and I wouldn't have started on the career I have. It's all because of my start at Slippery Rock University's Gender Studies program that I am now a professional advocate and activist for the LGBTQ community."